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IN WATEE- COLOURS.
HONORARY MXMBKR OV THB ACADSMT OV FIIIS ARTS AT BOLOGNA;
ANCIENT PBACnCE OF PAINTING," "AET OF FBESCO PAINTING," 8tc.
^ts irtobat attificnn. ^
WINSOR AND NEWTON, 38, RATHBONE PLACE,
Stiuits' CoUnsr IBsitm, hu SbptdsH Stpjuiintmcnt, to |ger fRajtstz, anH ia
/?^> Oln^ . S^7.
Printed by Schulze and Co., 13, Poland Street.
The difficulty experienced by the writer of this little
Work in her eariy practice of Portrait Fainting in Water-
Colours, induced her to think that a few practical direc-
tions would be useful^ especially to those students who
are unable to obtain the advantages of regular instruc-
tions in painting.
The writer has endeavoured to acquire from various
sources the best information on the subject, and has also
endeavoured to show that the instructions laid down are
founded upon the solid principles which were carried out
in the practice of the best masters. It will give her
unfeigned pleasure to think, that in facilitating the attain-
ment of mechanical skill, her little manual may lead the
way to the study of this interesting portion of the art.
Paper, and mode of stretching 10
Brushes . 21
Number of sittings for a portrait —
Position of the figure 23
Arrangement of the light 27
Drawing the figure 28
Method of painting 31
General maxims in colouring 34
Setting the palette for painting flesh 36
First painting . . . . . . . * . . 37
Second painting 40
Third painting 45
Alterations and corrections 57
PORTRAIT PAINTING IN WATER-COLOURS.
Taa person unaccustomed to the use of colours^ it
appears a task of considerable difficulty to paint a head
from life^ and to imitate with accuracy and precision^ or
even to be able to distinguish^ the delicate gradations of
the tints^ and the correct form^ as modified by perspective^
of every feature. It is hoped that the directions contained
in the following pages will render this delightful study
comparatively easy to those who commence it with a com-
petent knowledge of drawings and of light and shade.
Before^ however^ describing the process of painting a head
in water-colours, it will be necessary to advert to the
materials employed, namely, the paper, brushes, and
The paper for painting portraits should be thick, and
moderately rough. If too thin, it will not bear rubbing
out ; if too fine and smooth, the colours would be apt to
work off; if too rough, it would be impossible to work the
flesh up to a fine surface. The paper which many artists
prefer, is Whatman's extra double-elephant, the size of
which is forty inches by twenty-six inches. This paper
is sufficiently rough to afford a good hold to the colours,
and sufficiently smooth to ensure a good surface. The
student should be aware that there is a right and wrong
side to paper, and that as knots and other defects are
more apparent on the wrong side, all drawings should be
made on the right side. It is easy to distinguish the
right side from the wrong of a whoU sheet of paper, by
holding it up to the light, and looking at the maker's
name, which reads properly on the right side, but back-
wards on the wrong. When the paper has been cut,
so that the maker's name is no longer visible, it should be
held in an oblique direction between the spectator and
the Hght, when the right side may be known by certain
little knots and protuberances on the surface; and the
wrong side by hollows where the knots are cut off; and
as this side of the paper is not finished with the same
perfection as the right side^ it would be hazardous to
make a drawing of importance upon the wrong side of
the paper. A mark should be made with a pencil on the
comers of the right side of the paper^ before it is cut^
that it may be recognised again without the trouble of
looking for it.
Having selected a proper paper^ the next process is to
stretch it for painting. The best stretching boards are^
either the common clamped drawing-board^ or simple deal
frames^ which are much cheaper^ and for this reason it
may sometimes be convenient to leave important drawings
on the frame^ and have new ones for others. The common
stretching boards^ with frames^ do not tighten the paper
sufficiently^ which consequently " bags " when wet, to the
serious discomfort and inconvenience of the painter. For
better security, and in order to afford a firmer foundation
for rubbing or washing out colours, it is advisable to cover
the board, or frame, previously with cartridge-paper, and
where this is not lai^ enough, with common calico.
Some artists fix the paper to the boards with glue ;
others use paste, or mouth-glue ; but for ordinary purposes,
flour paste of a moderate consistency will be found most
convenient. The cartridge-paper should be cut of such a
size as to turn over the edges of the board, and fasten
well over on the back; for instance^ it should be at least
two inches larger than the boards every way. It must
then be thoroughly damped with a clean sponge on both
sides^ and when quite smooth^ the board must be laid on
it^ and the edges of the paper^ beyond the boards must be
pasted with a paste-brushy and then turned carefully over
the boards taking great care that the comers are well
done. In order to stretch the paper properly, after having
pasted one side, the superfluous piece in the comer should
be dexterously torn out^ and then the opposite side should
be pasted^ not that which is nearest in order. By follow-
ing the plan here recommended, the paper will be stretched
straight on the frame, and the comers will not be clumsy.
When calico is intended to be used, it must be nailed
upon the frame. As a carpenter is not always at hand, it"*
is a great advantage to be able to nail on the calico one^s
self. But there is a right way and a wrong way of doing
this ; and as it is an operation of some importance to the
drawing, inasmuch as the paper can never lie straight if
the calico under it be not straight, we must devote a few
words to describing the process. Suppose A and B the
opposite sides of a square wooden frame ; C and D the
other two sides. Begin by knocking a nail into the
middle of side A, then stretch the calico tight and drive
another into the middle of side B, opposite to it ; a third
into the middle of side C, a fourth into the middle of side
D. Then drive a nail into the right-hand comer of sides
A and C^ first drawing the calico tight towards the
comer, then one into the opposite comer of sides B and
D. Do the same on the other two sides, pinching up
the caUco at the comers, and turning it neatly over one
comer, fix it with a nail. Now halve the space between
one comer and the centre of side A, and drive in a nail at
the centre; then the opposite point of side B^ and so
until you have driven in five nails on each side, always
working from opposite points, in order to keep the calico
straight and tight. Having done this, proceed to drive
nails in the centre of each space, and its opposite point,
until the calico is secured by a sufficient number of
Having covered the boards with calico, or paper, next
cut the drawing-paper which is to be strained on them ;
and as the paper stretches by being wetted, the drawing-
paper should be cut a little smaller than the board, for it
is not at all necessary to turn the drawing-paper over the
edges, indeed it is much better not to do so. Take care
that every piece of paper, before it is cut, is marked so as
to distinguish the right from the wrong side. Now damp
thoroughly, and roll your paper, the right side inwards,
and let it lie and soak. When damping the paper, use
the sponge lightly, in order not to abrade the surface. To
know when it is damp enough, turn up a comer; if it
14 COLOURS FOR PORTRAIT PAINTING.
springs back^ it is not quite damp enough ; at the same
time^ it must not be made so wet as to tear when
While the paper is soaking^ paste very smoothly the
surface of the strained cartridge-paper^ or calico^ on which
place one end of your rolled paper^ and press it on with
the damp sponge^ unrolling it gradually^ and pressing out
all the air-bubbles, but not rubbing so hard as to spoil the
surface. Let the boards dry gradually; if dried by a fire,
they would pucker ; and remember to place them in a
horizontal position, that they may not '' bag.'' The paper
shrinks in drying ; and as the comers are disposed to dry
first, they frequently curl up, unless prevented by putting
weights on them.
Leaden, or other metal weights, tied up in silk bags, are
useful for this purpose. It will be at least twenty-four
hours before the strained paper is sufficiently dry to draw
upon. If drawn on before it is thoroughly dry, the pencil
will make indentations in the soft paper.
COLOURS FOR PORTRAIT PAINTING.
The colours used in portrait painting may be arranged
under two classes, namely, those employed in painting
flesh, and those adapted for draperies.
COLOURS FOR PORTRAIT FAINTING. 15
THE COLOURS FOR PAINTING FLESH ARE
Zinc White, caUed also Chinese White.
Venetian, or light Red.
Pink Madder, or Rose Madder.
THE COLOURS FOR DRAPERIES AND BACKGROUNDS, BESIDE THOSE
ALREADY MENTIONED, ARE
CHINESE WHITE, OR ZINC WHITE,
Is prepared from the oxide of zinc. It has a good body,
16 COLOURS FOB PORTRAIT FAINTING.
retains its colour perfectly, and works easily. In these
properties it excels every other white pigment which has
been hitherto tried as a water-colour. It is used but
sparingly in painting portraits, being frequently limited
to the white spots in the eyes, to the finishing of lace,
gold ornaments, and other high lights. It is useful in
correcting errors, as will be hereafter explained.
Is of a brilliant golden yellow, useful for draperies. It
gives a high gold tint when mixed with Chinese
White. The fine colour of Indian Yellow causes it to
be employed in painting flesh.
Is of a fine yellow colour, inclining to green. It flows
well, and the resin which it contains forms a kind of
natural varnish, which aids in preserving its colour.
Is useful for the local tint of light hair, and for certain
parts of landscape backgrounds. It is very permanent
and works well.
COLOURS FOR PORTRAIT PAINTING. 17
BURNT TERRA DI SIENNA
Serves for the middle tints of amber-coloured draperies ;
it is a useful colour for the greens in landscape back-
grounds, and forms with Indigo * an excellent colour for
A bituminous earth of a rich and very transparent
brown ; a valuable colour, but which has the bad pro-
perty of working up. For this reason, where it is
necessary to lay a great body of it, the moist tube
colour should be preferred to the cake. Vandyke Brown
forms with Lake a fine warm transparent tint, which is
much used as a warm shadow colour.
Is a cooler colour than Vandyke Brown. Mixed with
Indigo it is used for distant trees, for a general shadow
tint for light backgrounds, and for the shade of white
linen and white draperies. With Lake it forms a fine
tint somewhat resembling Brown Madder, and with Lake
and Indigo it makes an excellent black. It is trans-
parent and permanent, and works welL
18 COLOURS FOR PORTRAIT PAINTING.
Is of a rich transparent russet brown. It forms a soft
shadow colour with Blue ; alone it may be used to lower
red curtains or draperies, and for the darkest touches in
Is a fine colour, but not very permanent, and is employed
only in draperies. It will be more durable if covered
with a coat of Gamboge, but in this case it changes
from crimson to scarlet.
This colour is of a brilliant deep-toned crimson, pos-
sessing great power in its full touches and much clear-
ness in its pale washes. It is somewhat more fugitive
than Lake. A good way of using this colour is to
procure it in powder, and after putting a small portion
into a saucer, pour on it a little liquor of ammonia or
good hartshorn. The ammonia dissolves the Carmine
turning it nearly black, but it shortly after assumes a fine
red colour. It should not be used in flesh.
yhe colours prepared from madder are among the most
COLOURS FOR PORTRAIT PAINTING. 19
delicate and permanent of vegetable colours. Pink
Madder is used for the carnation tints in fleshy and
for pink draperies.
A deeper tint of the same kind as Pink Madder, for
which it may be used.
Is a serviceable colour for general purposes ; its tints,
though not bright, are clear, and are very permanent.
This pigment is valuable as a general tint for flesh.
A clear and transparent, low-toned red, similar in cha-
racter to Venetian Red, with somewhat more of an orange
Is of a purplish red colour. It makes an excellent shadow
colour for flesh, both alone and mixed with blue.
This colour, mixed with Pink Madder, affords a fine
tint for the carnations of flesh.
20 COLOURS FOR PORTRAIT PAINTING.
Is of a fine sky blue colour^ and the best blue pig-
ment for producing the silvery tints on flesh in paint-
ing in water-colours. Alone, it forms the blue tints, and
with Indian Red, the shadow-colour for flesh. It works
well and is permanent. By artificial light it assumes a
purplish tint, which, however, is not perceptible in the
A fin€ blue colour resembling Ultramarine,, which by
artificial light acquires a pui*ple tint. It is used in
A vitrified pigment prepared from Cobalt^ of a deep
purple blue, used sometimes for shading other blues.
It works badly, and must be stippled, not washed. It
appears of a red purple by artificial light.
A vegetable pigment of a deep greenish blue. It
washes and works well, and is a useful colour for back-
grounds, and with Sepia makes a retiring green for dis-
tant trees, &c.
A fine intense colour. It may be used as a shadow colour
with' Lake for some kiBds of purple draperies.
The brushes for painting flesh should be sables of
moderate size^ and rather large than small. They should
spring well when pressed with the finger^ and should ter-
minate in a good point. For hatchings a pointed brush
is not necessary ; in fact^ it is a disadvantage : a red
sable brushy the point of which is worn off^ is best adapted
for this purpose. It should be held as far &om the point
as possible^ between the first finger and thumb (the middle
finger being under it)^ and in such a manner as to allow
the free movement of the wrist and arm. The painter
should study to acquire a full and firm touch of the brush j
and not work upon the point of it. It is better to use an
easel^ and^ if necessary^ to rest the hand upon a mahl-
stick. This position is not only more healthy^ but it
enables the painter to see more of his work.
NUMBER OF SITTINGS FOR A PORTRAIT.
In painting a vignette portrait of a head and shoulders^
22 NUMBER OF SITTINGS FOB A PORTRAIT.
or one with an ordinary background^ three sittings are
generally sufficient. The first sitting commences with
the drawings and finishes conveniently with the first wash
of flesh tint ; the hatching can be done in the absenee of
the sitter^ when the background (if the portrait is to have
one) can also be worked in.
In the second sitting the shadows of the face which
give roundness^ the colour in the cheeks^ the hair^ and
the figure will be forwarded^ and the principal folds of the
drapery marked in from the sitter^ and the masses of light
and shade indicated. In the interval between the second
and third sittings the tints of the flesh may be softened;
but until the painter has attained some proficiency^ nothing
should be added to the flesh in the absence of the sitter.
The drapery may be completed either from a lay figure^
or from the clothes of the sitter, borrowed for that purpose.
The third sitting is occupied chiefly in finishing, soften-
ing, and correcting the likeness.
Lay figures may be had of various sizes from six inches
high to life size. For ordinary purposes, a German lay
figure from twenty-four inches to thirty-six inches will be
found very useful. Wilkie made use of figures about two
feet high, which he clothed, and from which he drew his
drapery; and as the drapery of these figures contained
but few folds, he obtained simplicity and breadth.
POSITION OP THE PIGURE. 23
POSITION OF THE FIGURE.
Before commencing a portrait^ it will be necofisary to
view the face of the sitter in various positions^ in order to
ascertain that in which it is most agreeable and charac-
teristic. Where the features are very prominent^ a full
face will frequently be found most pleasing^ because in
this case the features are less strongly defined. With
regard to the three-quarter view^ it may be remarked that
this position is most frequently selected^ because it com-
bines in some degree the profile and the full face. Some
care is, however, necessary in determining which three-
quarter view (namely, that which turns towards the right,
or that which turns towards the left), presents the face of
the sitter in the most favourable aspect ; for, besides the
difference in the shadow of the nose, it is found that few
persons possess both sides of the face exactly alike, con-
sequently in one position they will look better than in
another. Profiles are seldom selected in portraiture,
although they are sometimes very characteristic.
The position of the head with regard to the body is
another point to be considered. When the head is turned
in one direction and the body in another, the position is
more graceful; but where the head and body are both
turned in the same direction, the attitude is more simple.
It must be left to the judgment of the painter to select
that position which is best adapted to the sex^ age^ and
character of the sitter, all of which must enter into the
calculation of the artist.
The introduction of the hands and arms contributes
much to the beauty of the picture. They should be
elegant in form, for it is not necessary in all cases to copy
them from the sitter; and it should be a rule with the
young painter, as it was with Raffaele^ to show both hands^
that it should never become a question what was become
of the other.
Costume is another point of great importance. From the
ever-varying and endless caprice of fashion, that arrange-
ment and form of dress to which we are accustomed at
the present day, will look preposterous and absurd twenty
years hence, or even sooner. Within the last thirty years
we have passed through all the phases of large bonnets
and small bonnets, of long waists and short waists, of
wide sleeves and tight sleeves ; and the present generation
laugh at the odd figures of their grandmothers as handed
down by the portrait painter, while future generations will
ridicule the costume of the present, not because it is more
ridiculous than their own, but because the eye is unaccus-
tomed to it.
That is unquestionably the best dress which, while it
gracefully indicates, but does not display, the form of the
sitter, is so general as to carry no date, and to be never
entirely out of fashion, and which is not overloaded with
ornament. It would generally be preferable to leave the
arrangement of the dress in a great measure to the taste
and selection of the painter, or at least to allow him to
give an opinion on the subject. There is a story, for
the truth of which we will not vouch, that a lady whose
husband had more money than taste, went to Sir Joshua
Reynolds to have her own portrait and that of her hus-
band painted. The lady inquired which were the most
expensive colours. Sir Joshua replied, Ultramarine and
Carmine. " Then,^' rejoined the lady, " I will be dressed
in Ultramarine, and my husband in Carmine.^' With
the present knowledge of art that pervades the wealthy
classes, the painter will not frequently have to encounter
strong contrasts of glaring colours ; but as he will have
to treat coloured draperies, it may not be amiss to refer to
some of the pictures of Sir Joshua Reynolds and Van-
dyck, in order to show their arrangement of colours.
It may, however, first be observed, that it appears to
have been a general rule with Vandyck, Rubens, Rem-
brandt, Velasquez, Murillo, Correggio, and other great
painters, to place white next the skins of women and
children. Sir Joshua was fond of dressing his figures of
ladies and children in white muslin dresses^ or in light
drapery of a warm neutral tint. He appears to have re-
served his strong colours for the portraits of men, who
in his day wore more lively colours than they do at the
Generally speakings Vandyck introduced more positive
colour into his pictures than Reynolds. He frequently
employed the three primitives. Red, Blue and Yellow, and
the tertiary neutrals (browns and drabs). Green and
purple are of less frequent occurrence, but he has some
splendid orange-coloured draperies, which he heightened
until they approached scarlet, and which he contrasted
Blue is a favourite colour with ladies, but the arrange-
ment of such a mass of cold colour is a matter of some
difficulty with the young painter. Sir Joshua says, that
the masses of light in a picture should be of the warm
and mellow kind, such as reds and yellows. To disprove
this opinion, Gainsborough painted his celebrated picture
in the Grosvenor Gallery, which is known by the name of
the ^^ Blue Boy.'' It is a full-length picture of a boy in
a blue satin dress, surrounded by warm and rich browns.
By some artists, he is considered to have successfully
refuted Sir Joshua's proposition; but Sir T. Lawrence
considers that he succeeded only partially — ^that the diffi-
culty was combated, not surmounted.
ARRANGEMENT OF THE LIGHT. 27
It will be useful, then, to ascertain how Vandyck
treated this colour when he was required to introduce it
into drapery. He placed linen next the skin, contrasted
the blue with warm browns, and generally introduced
into the same picture a red or amber-coloured curtain,
and an arm-chair, or another drapery of the third primi-
tive colour ; and so he maintained an equilibrium of warm
and cold colours, harmonizing the whole with warm browns
and greys. He also frequently introduced a drab scarf
on the neck of his figures, probably with a view of giving
value to the flesh tints.
Rembrandt was fond of black draperies, which enabled
him to concentrate the light on the upper part of the
ARRANGEMENT OF THE LIGHT.
With regard to the arrangement of the light, the
window by which light is admitted into the studio of the
painter should be at least six feet from the ground, in
order to throw the shadows downwards.* A movable
shutter, sliding up and down by a pulley, can be easily
affixed, and will be found very convenient. The light
* The window of Sir Joshua's room was nine feet four inches from the
28 DRAWING THE FIGURE.
should be suffered to fall on the face of the sitter in such
a direction as to secure the greatest breadth of effect. If
he be placed directly on one side^ and the face be turned
towards the light, the shadow of the nose must be very
strong, in order to give it due prominence : in that case^
a dark background is necessary to give tenderness to the
shadows of the face. This arrangement is sometimes
found in good pictures ; but, generally speaking, one of
the first-mentioned positions is selected. It is almost
unnecessary to observe that the painter should sit so that
the light should enter on the left hand.
DRAWING THE FIGURE.
A correct outline is of the first importance, since it is
the foundation of the picture ; no trouble therefore
should be considered too great to secure it.
In order to avoid soiling the paper by rubbing out
incorrect lines, it is better to make a correct outUne on
another piece of paper, and then trace it on the strained
paper. We shall first give a few directions for drawing a
head, and then shall describe the mode of tracing it on
the drawing-paper :
First, draw a line to mark the inclination of the head.
If a full face is to be drawn, the line will be straight ; if
it be a three-quarter face, it will be a little curved. Then
DRAWING THE FIGURE. 29
draw a line, cutting the first exactly at right angles, on
which the eyes are t9 be placed* Sketch lightly another
line or two below this for the nose, mouth, and chin.
This rule cannot be too strongly impressed upon the
student, who would not wish to see one eye higher than
the other ; or the mouth and nose awry. On these lines
block out the features, marking them very square; and be
careful to place them in their true positions, and in just
proportions. Having got in the general form, go over
the drawing carefully, giving every feature its true form
The drawing being finished, hold it before a looking-
glass, when, from the position being reversed, bad drawing
will be easily detected. When you are satisfied with the
correctness of your outline, lay over it a piece of good
French tracing-paper,* and mark over the outline with a
brush dipped in water-colour. Next, take a piece of
tissue-paper, and rub over it a little charcoal, or red ochre,
in powder. Place the tracing carefully on the strained
paper, and fix the upper comers by placing the leaden
weights on them ; then, without disturbing the tracing,
slide the tissue-paper with the coloured side downwards
under the tracing-paper, and pass over the outline with an
* Excellent tracing-paper, of very large size, may now be procured at
sixpence a sheet.
30 DRAWING THE FIGURE.
ivory, agate, or ebony style, lifting carefully the lower
corners now and then to see that •every line has been
marked. The style must be used with sufficient firmness
to leave a mark, but not so as to indent the drawing-
paper. A small piece of coloured tissue-paper will be
sufficient, as it may be moved without disturbing the
tracing; indeed it ought to be smaller than the tracings
in order to be introduced between the leaden weights.
When the coloured paper is done with, fold it together, to
prevent the colour from rubbing off on other drawings.
It will serve many times.
The outline being transferred to the drawing-paper, it
must be strengthened and corrected lightly with a pencil,
beginning first at the lower-right hand comer, in order
that the hand may not efface the impression of the tracing;
for the marks left by the red ochre, or charcoal, are so
light that the slightest touch will efface them. Having
then secured the outline, remove the red ochre, or char-
coal, by flapping the paper lightly with a handkerchief.
The drawing is now ready for colouring.
The method of tracing outlines has been described at
length, because it is wished to impress on the student the
importance of keeping the drawing-paper clean; and
because it is well known the great masters were accus-
tomed to adopt a similar process of transferring their
designs to the wall or canvas. It should at the same
METHOD OP PAINTING. 31
time be understood^ that it is strongly recommended
that students should make their own drawings in the first
instance^ and not be contented with servilely tracing the
outlines of the pictures they are copying.
Where a drawing is intended to be copied on a different
scale^ it may be reduced by various methods : either by
dividing the surface of the picture and of the space on
which it is to be copied^ into an equal number of squares^
and then copying into each square what is contained in
the corresponding square of the original ; or the picture
may be reduced in a certain proportion by means of pro-
portional compasses; and where a head only is to be
copied, the latter method is certainly preferable. It is
recommended, however, to draw by the guidance of the
eye, and to have recourse to the mechanical methods only
as a means of verifying the correctness of the drawing.
METHOD OF PAINTING.
Painting in water-colours is a totally different process
from painting in oil. In oil-painting the lights are opaque,
while transparency is preserved in the shades by passing
one layer of colour over another which has been suffered
to dry before the new coat is applied, and by this means
the under colours are seen through the upper layer, and
depth is attained as well as transparency. In water-
32 METHOD Of PAINTING.
colour painting the colours (except White, which is com-
paratively little used) all possess more or less transparency ;
but as they are not attached to the ground with the same
firmness as oil-colours, transparency and depth cannot
always be attained by washing one colour over another, for
the gum which bound the first layer of colours would be
dissolved, and the colours would mix together. If, for
instance, in oil painting, Blue, Red and Yellow, be laid
one over the other, and the under colours sufiered to dry,
a compound tint will be produced which partakes of all
three colours. If the order of the colours be changed,
and either Blue or Bed be the upper layer of colour, the
effect of the compound tint will be different from the first,
in which the upper colour was Yellow ; if, on the con-
trary, in water-colours, the same three colours. Blue, Red
and Yellow, be washed one over the other, the colours
unite instead of remaining distinct, and blackness, or at
least darkness, will be the result. In order, therefore,
to attain the depth and transparency of oil-colours, the
painter in water-colours is obliged to have recourse to the
somewhat tedious expedient of hatching or stippling the
three colours separately, and so producing the desired
compound tint. The primitive colours so applied will
always be more brilliant than the same colours previously
mixed together into tints.
Rubens, our own Hogarth and Sir Joshua Reynolds,
METHOD OF FAINTING. 33
and other good colourists, were in the habit of working
with the three primitive colours instead of compounding
their tints. The directions of Rubens to his pupils with
regard to the painting of flesh, have been transmitted to
us by the Chevalier Mechel. The great artist is reported
to have said : " Paint your lights IVhite, place next to it
Yellow, then Red, using dark Red as it passes into the
shadow; then with a brush dipped in cool Grey pass
gentlyover the whole, till they are tempered and sweetened
to the tone you wish/' These remarks, of course, apply
to oil painting, but the principle is the same in every kind
of painting. It will be seen presently how far this prin-
ciple is borne out in the following directions for painting
Stippling consists in working on* the part to-be painted
with fine dots with the point of the brush. Hatching is
the same kind of work, but it is executed with lines in-
stead of points. There are different methods of hatch-
ing, and probably every artist has his own peculiar
mode. After trying several, the following method is
First work over the space to be covered with the colour
with short, wide, and regular horizontal strokes, worked
firmly in rows from the top downwards, so as not to leave
little blots at the ends of the strokes. The best way of
avoiding these little blots, is t6 press firmly on the brush
34 GENERAL MAXIMS IN COLOURING.
at the beginnings and carry it on to the end of the stroke^
and not to begin lightly and end by a firm pressure.
Having hatched the strokes evenly one way^ cross them
slightly with the same firm touchy and avoid crossing
them at right angles^ or with lines that are too oblique.
This method of hatching produces a very light and
The hatching should be tolerably open^ but not too
The effect of hatching on the shadows is to give depths
and enable the spectator to look into them^ an effect which
is never attained by flat washes of colour.
There is one rule which cannot be too firmly impressed
on the student^ namely^ that in water-colour painting the
first colours should alWays be bright and pure^ because
they may easily be lowered to the desired tone ; but if their
purity is once sullied by admixture with other colours^
their brightness can> never be recovered.
GENERAL MAXIMS IN^ COLOURING.
If the face were an entirely flat surface^ in which the
features occasioned neither projections nor depressions^
nothing more would be necessary in painting a represen-
tation of it, than to cover it with a uniform flat tint of
flesh colour. But as there is scarcely any part of it which
GENERAL MAXIMS IN COLOURING. 35
is perfectly flat^ the gradations of light and shade are in-
numerable. These gradations of light and shade claim
the earnest attention of the student^ and are, perhaps,
best learned from a plaster cast, where they are separated
from colour.* The following general maxims relative to
the aerial perspective of figures should be well under-
stood by the student before he proceeds further with the
Nature relieves one object from another by means of
light and shade, and we find everywhere light opposed to
dark, and dark to light.
The shadows of objects in the open air are less dark
than those within doors, because the former are lighted up
by the reflections of the sky and all the surrounding ob-
jects, while within doors the light is limited, and reflections
are less apparent.
The colour of most objects is best discerned in the
middle tints; strong colours are reserved for the parts
nearest the eye ; receding objects are more faint in colour
than those near the eye. Lights are less affected by
distance than shadows, which grow paler as the distance
The highest lights have generally but little colour, for
all colour is a deprivation of light.
* It is a good plan always to keep a white bust at hand as a guide
to the light and shade.
36 SETTING THE PALETTE FOR FAINTING FLESH.
All retiring parts partake more or less of grey.
Strong shadows should be warm^ those of flesh (which
is semi-transparent) always incline to red.
All the shadows of flesh must have grey edges. This
prevents hardness, and gives great richness.
The reflected lights of flesh are warmer than the sur-
The darkest parts of shadows are near their edge^ the
middle being lighted by reflected lights.
SETTING THE PALETTE FOR PAINTING FLESH.
To set the palette for painting flesh, place these colours
in the following order :
These colours are sometimes used pure, and sometimes
different tints are formed of them, namely, Indian Yellow
and Venetian Red for the flesh colour, VermilUon and
Fink Madder for the carnations. Fink Madder and Brown
FIRST PAINTTNG. 37
Madder for the markings of the lips and nostrils^ Indian
Red and Blue for the shadow colour^ Blue and Yellow for
the green tints^ all of which may be mixed when required.
A small palette is most convenient for painting the fleshy
and should be set apart for this purpose; the middle being
kept clean for mixing the tints ; for much depends upon
preserving the colours clean and bright.
We shall divide the process of painting into three parts^
the first of which consists of the outline and dead colour-
ings the second of the paintings the third of the finishing.
The preceding axioms being well understood, we pro-
ceed now to give directions for painting the head of a
Having carefully drawn the figure, rub it lightly with
bread or Indian-rubber, so as to leave only a faint outline,
which will not interfere with the colours, then make a firm
outline with the brush, laying the proper colours upon every
part, and as near as possible in the full strength at once,
carefully copying the forms and improving the drawing.
For example, put in the pupil of the eye with Sepia (if so
it happen to be), the iris with Cobalt, lowered with Sepia
for a grey or blue eye, or Vandyke Brown for a dark eye;
the eyelashes are marked with Sepia, and the eyebrows
^ FIKST PAINTING^
indicated with the same. If the outline of the nose be in
shadow^ it may be marked out with Brown Madder; the
ear may also be outlined with the same colour, the nostrils
with Brown Madder and Fink Madder, the deep shadows
of the mouth with the same tint. The most important
and characteristic shadows of the face should then be put
in, and as near as possible to their full strength, with the
general shadow colour, which is composed of Indian Bed,
lowered with Cobalt, but not to such an extent as to acquire
a slaty tint. This mixture of Cobalt and Indian Bed forms
a beautiful clean colour for the shadows. The important
shadows are in the sockets of the eyes, on the lower part
of the nose and below it, beneath the chin, and below or
behind the ear. These shadows are to be partly washed,
partly hatched. Then put in the blue shadow under the
lower lip with Cobalt.
The lips are next to be coloured with Vermillion and
Fmk Madder. This colour should be stippled on, and
the lights in the lips may either be left or taken out
afterwards. The whole of the face (except the eyes) is
then to be washed over with a light tint of Venetian
Bed. While this is drying, outline with Sepia the prin-
cipal divisions and locks of the hair, beginning with the
darkest and most decided forms, until the whole of the
hair is well made out with touches of proper strength.
White linen next the skin may then be outlined with
FIRST PAINTING. 39
a tint made of Cobalt and Sepia^ and all other objects
are to be outlined with their real colours^ beginning as
before with the decided tones and touches which give form
to the object.
We have then an accurate and coloured outline^ in which
the principal shadows are indicated. It is in vain to attempt
to complete the picture with shadows and colour^ if these
preliminary steps are defective. If this part of the work
be well executed^ the resemblance and general effect are
secured at the commencement of the work.
The Venetian Red tint on the face being now dry,
hatch the whole face with the same colour, using it thin
and flowing, and beginning on the forehead, and directing
the short strokes as nearly as possible in such a manner as
to give to this part the round appearance which it has in
nature. Having hatched once over the face, cross the
hatching by going over it again ; but take care that the
strokes are but little crossed, and especially not at right
angles. It is to be understood now, once for aU, that in
painting flesh, all the colours, with the exception of the
first wash of Venetian Bed, are to be hatched in the
manner recommended (p. 33), and not washed. Some
portraits, especially those of men, require a light tint of
Indian Bed to be hatched over the lower part of the
face upon the Venetian Bed.
40 SECOND PAINTING.
Proceed now to put in the shadow on the forehead with
Indian Red^ keeping strictly to the form, llien the dark
shadow in the socket of the eye with the shadow tint of
Indian Red and Cobalt^ working on the edges of the
shadow with pore Cobalt^ and preserving accorately the
form of the shadows. Mark the edge of the upper eyelid
with Indian Red.
Remember, as a general rale, that the edges of all
shadows must be grey. In order to be satisfied that this
rule is founded on nature, lay a piece of card or a pencil oa
white paper, and observe the dark shadow with the grey
edge beyond it. This grey edge is less perceptible by
artificial light than by daylight.
Next work the colour on the cheek, which is composed
of Vermillion and Pink Madder, observing the gradations
of colour and light on the cheek-bones ; stipple the edges
of the colour near the nose, bring the colour well up to
the temple, and diffuse it over the cheek towards the ear,
and a little on the chin. This done, deepen the extreme
shadows where they require it. Then hatch over the
shaded part of the forehead with Blue, making it bluer at
the retiring edge, carry the Blue down the nose if neces-
sary. It will be obsen-ed that in shading the forehead^ the
red shades were placed first, and the blue above them.
SECOND FAINTING. 41
The reason for so doing is^ because it is found that if the
red shadows are laid below the blue^ the colours will look
clean and bright^ but if the blue is first laid the effect will
be dirty. We shall notice hereafter that this practice is in
accordance with the principle of Rubens.
Now work a cool green tint, composed of Cobalt and
Indian Yellow, over the socket of the eye : this part should
be stippled, not hatched. Work blue over the shadow at the
edge of the lower jaw, observing the true form and depth of
the tint, and especially marking the angle of the lower jaw.
Put in the blue shadow on the temples. Soften the edge
of all shadows by stippling on them.
In the process of working, white spots are frequently
left : these must be filled with the proper colours. It is
better, indeed, to look frequently at the painting while in
progress, and fill up these white spots as they are dis-
covered. Sometimes the hatching will appear too wiry, in
which case wash it several times with a clean brush dipped
in water, in order to blend the tints. It may also happen
that the tint is worked in too dark. In this case, hatch
with a clean brush dipped in water, only without colour,
and remove the loosened colour by rubbing it gently with
a soft old handkerchief.
It is now time that the background should be painted,
because this must determine the depth of colour to be given
to the face and hair.
42 SECOND FAINTING.
The subject of backgrounds will be treated more fuUy in
another place. It will now be only necessary to observe
that a very agreeable green background may be made of
Indigo and Burnt Sienna^ of Indigo and Sepia^ or of Indigo
and Vandyke Brown. This should be washed on, and the
gradations of light and shade duly indicated by a deeper or
lighter colour ; then the surface is to be evened by touches
which are half hatching and half washing. The work should
be broad (that is, not too .fine) on the background, but
should be finer as it approaches the face. Then wash over
the dress, and put the shades into the linen with Sepia and
Next hatch a light tint of blue over the lower and
retiring part of the cheek, then put in the blue shadow
below and at the comer of the under lip, keeping its
form well defined, and unite it gradually with the blue
shade of the jaw. Then a blue tint under the nose,
and a little of the shadow colour on the wing of the
nostril. Soften the edge of the chin, and round it with
the shadow colour.
Now put in the warm colour imder the chin with a tint
composed of Venetian Red and Indian Yellow, which is
sometimes called the flesh colour. Work a little of the
same tint on the dark shadow in the sockets of the eyes.
Soften the shaded side of the iris with the shadow colour,
finish the lips by stippling them with Vermillion and
SECOND FAINTING. 43
Pink Madder^ and observe that the more distant part is
less vivid in colour. The principal work at this period of
the painting consists in softening the tints by working on
Having advanced the painting of the flesh thus far^
proceed next with the hair^ by strengthening the extreme
shades with Sepia.
The difficulty of painting hair consists not so much in
the colouring as in the drawings for so the continual touches
which give the form and flow of the hair may properly be
termed ; and to this point the attention of the student
must be continually directed. We will first give directions
for painting brown hair. For the local tint use Vandyke
Brown and Sepia^ and with this work on the next deepest
shades with a touch that is neither too wiry and defined,
nor too washy; then go on with the next deepest shades^
and so on^ retouching and strengthening, when necessary,
the extreme darks, and leaving the lights, which must be
gradually covered with light touches, giving them the form
of hair, imtil even the extreme lights are covered with a light
tint of this local colour, taking no notice for the present of
the blue tint perceptible on or near the lights. These high
lights are afterwards to be taken out. When the local
colour is not sufficiently warm, apply the flesh tint, com-
posed of Venetian Bed and Indian Yellow.
Should it be desired to paint dark or black hair, proceed
44 SECOND PAINTING.
in the same manner^ using Sepia only instead of Vandyke
Brown and Sepia^ adding for the extreme darks a little
warm black (composed of Sepia^ Lake^ and Indigo).
And remember that in black and dark hair the lights are
cold and blueish^ and that there is always a warm tint
between the lights and the extreme darks.
For flaxen hair, begin as before with Sepia, of a proper
degree of strength ; the next darkest tints are composed of
Vandyke Brown with or without Sepia, then the flesh
colour (Venetian Red and Indian Yellow). The local
colour is either Yellow Ochre or a tint formed of Indian
Yellow and Venetian Red, which, from being more trans-
parent, is perhaps preferable. The high lights of flaxen
hair are yellow, and there is a cool grey tint between the
lights and the shadows. In all cases the high lights of
hair are taken out afterwards, when the tints already
described are quite dry ; and to allow time for this, it is
usual to leave the hair in this state, and go on with the
neck, arms, and hands, when they are visible.
Be careful to introduce shadows or grey tints between
the flesh and the hair, and to soften the extremities and
outlines of the hair where it meets the background, that it
may not appear inlaid.
The colour on the shaded side of the neck is Indian Red
and Blue, on the light side Blue only. The green tint on
the neck is to be given with the flesh colour (Venetian Red
THIRD FAINTING. 45
and Indian Yellow). Proceed in the same manner with
the arms and hands^ nsing^ however^ Indian Bed alone for
the first tints^ in the same manner as on the forehead^
then working over them, when necessary, with Blue,
observing the reflected lights, which are always warm.
The divisions of the fingers may be painted with Brown
Madder and Pink Madder. The tips of the fingers, the
knuckles, and the outside of the hands, are more rosy
than the other parts, and require to be hatched with the
carnation tint of Madder and Vermillion.
Next, wash over the white linen with a general middle
tint, without regarding the high lights, which are to be
taken out afterwards. Wash a local colour also over the
drapery, covering even the high lights.
The whole of the paper is now covered with a tint,
more or less dark, and a general harmony should pervade
the whole picture ; in which, however, a few sharp high
lights are still wanting to give finish and solidity. But
before proceeding to execute this, examine your work
carefully, make the forms very perfect, and beginning at
the upper part of the picture — the eye, for instance — ^finish
as you go. Observe that the darkest parts of shadows
are near their edges, the middle parts being lighted by
46 THIRD PAINTING.
reflected lights. If the shade tint above the eye is too
purple^ correct it with green. (The green tint^ it will be
remembered^ is composed of Blue and a very little Indian
Yellow.) Should this tint be found too green, use instead
of it the flesh colour. Lower the blue tint of the iris
with Sepia and Cobalt ; the white of the eye with the same.
If the eye is of a greenish tint, warm the grey with the
flesh colour. Make the eyelashes with Sepia, broad, like
a shadow, not divided into hairs. There is sometimes a
brown shadow under the eyelashes when the face is seen
nearly in profile ; this is to be done with Vandyke Brown.
The principal light on a face is generally on the forehead ;
this light may now be taken out.*
Soften and round every part that requires it. Bemem-
ber that shadows indicate the form, therefore make your
strong shadows very full in colour and accurate in form,
sharply defined and warm in colour ; and let every shadow
have a blue edge. Keep your half tints broad and very
cool. If your shadows are too purple, neutralize them
with green ; if too green, work on them with purple; if
too blue, hatch them with orange (Venetian Bed and
Yellow.) Where the tints are decidedly green. Blue and
Yellow may be used, where they are less decided use the
flesh tint, or even Venetian Bed alone, where the flesh
tint would be too green. Make all retiring and rounded
* The method of taking out lights will be described in another place.
THIRD FAINTING. 47
parts grey. Finish the comers of the mouth with a line
or two of the shadow colour^ softening the edge with Blue.
There is also a little blue shade at the comers of the
lips. The deep shadow under the chin has a little Sepia
with it. The edge of the shadow on the forehead is
greenish. In painting the ear^ which is semi-transparent,
let the shadows be warm and inclined to red. Soften
every part of your work, and if the hatching is too wiry
work on it with a brush dipped in plain water, and wipe
it with a soft handkerchief.
The process of painting a head from the first outline on
the paper, until its completion, has thus been described.
It remains now to point out how far the instructions of
Bubens, quoted in a former part of the work (p. 33)
have been followed, and it is wished at the same time to
call the attention of the student to the principle upon
which this system of colouring is based. The high light
on the forehead uniting with the general flesh tint of
Venetian Bed, and thence spreading into Indian Bed in
the shadows, corresponds as far as it is possible for water-
colours to do, with the order observed by Bubens ; namely,
white, yellow, and pale red tints, increasing in the
shadows to dark red. The blue tint with which the
greater part of the flesh is toned, and which being worked
over red produces the effect of grey in the method we
have described, corresponds nearly with the " cool grey
48 THIRD FAINTING.
tint^^ with which Bubens hannonized the whole of the
It wiU be seen that the various tints of the flesh have
been imitated chiefly with the three primitive colours^ —
Bed of difierent tints^ Blue and Yellow ; and there is no
doubt that although for convenience we make use of dif-
ferent kinds of red (namely^ Venetian and Indian Beds,
Pink Madder, and Vermillion,) it would be very prac-
ticable to produce an equally good effect by using only
pure Bed, Yellow, and Blue. This last method, it is true,
requires considerable skill in colouring and compounding
the tints; and as Nature has furnished us with trust-
worthy pigments of various useful tints, it is much easier
and more convenient to make use of them, than to limit
ourselves to the three primitive colours.
It frequently happens that when the drawing is seen
with the light entering on the left hand, as is usual in
painting, that the hatching appears soft and even ; but
that when seen in an opposite direction, it looks rough
and wiry ; for this reason it is advisable to place the draw-
ing in different lights, and work on it until it is perfectly
smooth and even, taking care not to deepen the colours.
This is easily avoided by working between the hatching.
It will occasionally happen that the paper, although very
pleasant to work upon, is too rough to allow of very deli-
cate finish. In this case lay a piece of tissue-paper upon
THIRD PAINTING. 49
tlie face, and rub it with some round object hard and
polished^ such as a child's ivory ring, or the handle of a
key. If the paper has been stretched on a frame it will
be necessary to place something hard and smooth (a piece
of plate-glass, for instance) carefully at the back, under
the part to be rubbed, in order to avoid injuring the
drawing or tearing the paper. Continue the rubbing
until on feeling it with the finger the surface is foimd to
be quite smooth. You may then work it to any degree
of finish, and may repeat the rubbing, if necessary.
It may perhaps be thought unnecessary to cover up
lights, which are afterwards to be taken out ; but it is
universally acknowledged that lights produced by the
latter method are much more efiective than those which
are left during the painting. The mode of taking out
lights is as follows : Mark out their form accurately with
a clean brush dipped in water only, then rub them
smartly, but with a horizontal and light movement of the
hand, with crumb of bread or a soft piece of rag. A
circular movement of the hand would abrade the surface
of the drawing, but the horizontal movement does not
injure it. The longer time, in moderation — for instance,
while you can count eight or ten — ^that is suflfered to
elapse before wiping out the Ught, the stronger the light
will be ; if the bread or rag is applied immediately, the
light will be less bright. The bread used for this purpose
50 THIRD PAINTING.
should be moderately stsJe^ and where it is in frequent
use it may be kept in working condition by wrapping it
in a damp rag.
If the outline of any part is too hard or cuttings soften
it by working upon the edges with the adjacent colours^
for there are no outlines in Nature, and particularly in
fleshy where every part is round and soft.
The spot of light in the eye is put in with Chinese
(zinc) White. The best method of applying this is to
hold the tube in your left hand^ and dip a finely pointed
brush into it.
As water-colours dry without gloss^ it is sometimes
necessary to gum the extreme shades^ in order to give
them depth. But the gum must not be applied until the
painting is finished. It is sometimes used on the back-
ground, where it may either be mixed with colour or
worked on alone. The strongest gum-water that is ever
necessary in painting consists of one part of gum and
seven parts of filtered rain or distilled water, but it may
be used much weaker. The less gum that is used the
The foregoing directions relate, as has been already
mentioned to the head of a fair person; but if the
instructions have been carefully attended to, the student
will have but little difficulty in painting any complexions.
It may however be observed, that the shadows and half
THIRD PAINTING. 51
tints of some persons incline to green, those of others to
purple. Dark persons have always more yellow in their
complexions than fair ones, and their shadows will con-
sequently be greener. In some complexions it will be
necessary to work a reddish tint composed either of Vene-
tian Bed and Indian Yellow, or of Vermillion and Pink
Madder over some parts of the face ; the eye will be the
best guide in this respect.
In making copies in water-colours of paintings by the
old masters and Sir Joshua B.eynolds, some artists are
accustomed to lay body colour on t^ie lights in order to
produce a closer resemblance to the original. The best
mode of doing this is to lay on pure White, in the form
of the lights, and when dry, to pass over it lightly and
quickly a transparent tint, which will match the colour of
the original. Care must, however, be taken not to dis-
turb the white paint, for this would mix with the upper
layer of colour, and produce a muddy tint.
White paint is also useful for putting on different white
lights, such as the pattern of lace, pearls and gold orna-
ments (which last must be afterwards glazed with some
transparent colour), but it must be used sparingly, and
may be glazed or toned down to any tint.
It is also useful in making corrections or alterations,
where it would be inconvenient to wash out the part. In
this case the White is laid on so thickly as to cover what
is beneath^ and when quite dry^ the necessary colours are
to be painted over it.
Draperies are to be painted in the same manner as the
hair^ beginning first with the large folds which give shape
to the masses^ then the folds of the next size^ and then
the local colour, leaving the lights which are to be but
thinly covered with colour. When quite dry, the high
lights are to be taken out. Observe to make the folds
angular, to give them proper form, and to preserve the
reflexes, which, like those in the flesh, are warmer than
the surrounding colour.
Although too close an imitation of different stuffs is
disapproved of by the best writers on art, it must be ob-
served that woollen and silk stuffs have characteristic
differences, which should not be overlooked by the painter.
These differences will be perceptible in the form of the
folds, and in the manner in which the light glances on
them ; and they should be rendered with such a regard to
truth of effect, that there should be no difficulty in decid-
ing of what material a drapery is composed.
As a general rule with regard to draperies, it may be
remarked that where the lights are cool, the shadows
should be warm, as in white draperies, where the middle
tints consist of Cobalt and a little Indian Bed, and the
shades of Sepia. But white drapery is modified by the
surrounding objects ; for example^ where the background
is green^ the shades of white drapery will incline to green ;
where the background is blue, they will partake of that
In black draperies, the lights should be cool and the
shadows warm. A good colour for black draperies is
made with Sepia, Lake and Indigo, which, if properly
mixed, make as fine a Black as can be desired.
In blue draperies the lights and half-lights are cold,
the shadows warmed with Lake, or Lake and Sepia ; and
where the blue approaches purple with orange. Cobalt
may be used for the lighter tints ; and for the shadows,
French Ultramarine strengthened in the deepest parts
with Indigo and Lake. When black— black lace, for
instance — ^is contrasted with deep blue, the former must
be very warm; and instead of black, warm browns,
heightened, if necessary, with Venetian Red, should be
used, for these by contrast appear black.
In yellow draperies, the shades are of Burnt Sienna,
finished with Vandyke Brown, and the local colour. Gam-
boge or Indian Yellow.
The subject of backgroimds is one of great difficulty
to the painter ; and so deeply was Sir Joshua Reynolds
impressed with this truths that^ although he frequently
intrusted different parts of his pictures to his pupils, he
always painted the backgrounds himself. In a work,
limited as the present is to the technical part of the Art,
it is impossible to enter at length into this difficult subject.
We shall, however, offer a few practical observations for
the guidance of the student.
As the figure should always be the principal object in a
portrait, the background should be devoted to repose ;
that is, it should be quiet and unobtrusive, and should be
painted with retiring colours, which cause it to recede far
behind the head of the sitter. It should consist of broken
tints, and not of one uniform colour; and it should be
lighter in some parts than others, that the figure may not
appear to be inlaid. If objects are introduced into the
background, they should be few in number, and should
be kept subservient to the figure. The latter remark is
applicable also to landscape backgrounds, which should
consist of broad features and few details, and should be
kept low in tone. The introduction of a few warm tints
into the sky near the horizon serves to repeat the cdour
of the flesh. The horizontal line should not be placed
too low. The chief use of the "bit'^ of landscape and
sky which we so frequently find in the portraits of Yan-
dyck and Reynolds, seems to be to extend the light, which
would otherwise have been confined to the figure.
There are two ways of relieving a figure ; in the one
the light is on the figure ; in the other the figure appears
dark on a light ground. For portraits the former is
adopted ; and the tint of the background^ which is always
kept low, in order to throw out the head, may be varied
through all possible gradations from the shadow thrown
on a white wall to the depth and obscurity which sur-
rounds a figure placed just within an open window, or
door. Light backgrounds involve less labour, but they
have not the force of dark ones ; for that light will always
appear brightest which is surrounded with the most in-
tense dark. Some part of the figure should be lost in the
ground, while part should come sharply out of it.
With regard to the colours used in backgrounds, the
observation already made as to laying in pure and bright
colours in the first place may be here repeated. A bright
red or amber-coloured curtain, or a clear blue sky, may
be lowered to any tone required, but dirty colours can
never be made to look bright.
A red curtain may be painted in the following manner :
Mark out the folds and shadows with Sepia, then lay a
coat of Gamboge, over that, when dry, a coat of Carmine.
Then deepen the shadows with Sepia and Lake, or Brown
Madder. Lower the red tint by hatching with broad
touches with Brown Madder; lower it still more, if ifleces-
sary, with Sepia, either alone or with Lake, and if that
does not throw it sufficiently back^ hatch it with Blue^
which will make it retire considerably further.
A blue sky may be lowered with Indian Bed or Sepia,
according to the tint desired to be produced. An amber-
coloured curtain may be coloured with Gamboge or Indian
Yellow, shaded with Burnt Sienna, and afterwards with
Vandyke Brown, and lowered with Sepia. If it be desired
to make it still more distant, Blue must not be resorted
to as in the former case, for that would communicate to it
a greenish hue, but a little of some red colour must be
added to the Blue to neutralize it and make the Yellow
retire. This effect is also assisted by painting a black
pattern upon the yellow curtain, as was the practice of
Vandyck and Paul Veronese.
For landscape backgrounds, the sky and distance may
be painted with pure Cobalt ; the clouds with Indian Bed
and Blue, or with Venetian Bed and Blue ; a warm colour
may be given to the horizon by touches of yellow and
The distance, begun with Cobalt, may be continued as
it approaches the eye with purple made of Cobalt and
Lake. The next gradation may be Cobalt and Sepia; for
the next Indigo and Sepia, adding more Sepia as the
ground approaches the eye. A yellow tint may be given
to tMe distant trees and herbage by Gramboge, but no
brown wanner than Sepia should be used for distant trees*
ALTEBATI0N8 AND CORRBCTIONS. 57
The sky and distance may be toned with Indian Red or
Brown Madder and Blue^ alternately, or as occasion may
In nearer trees warm browns should prevail, and very
bright green tints should be introduced sparingly, because
warm browns advance, while blue and green tints recede
from the eye.
ALTERATIONS AND CORRECTIONS.
In the course of the work it will be frequently neces-
sary to make alterations and corrections. With care this
may be done safely, but at the same time all unnecessary
alterations should be avoided, lest in conducting the opera-
tion the surface of the paper should be destroyed.
If slight alterations only are required it will be suffi-
cient to wet the part, and wipe it out with a piece of soft
rag or bread ; and if any roughness is perceptible, it may
be smoothed with the ivory ring or key-handle, first put-
ting a piece of silver-paper over the drawing. If exten-
sive alterations are to be made, the sponge must be used ;
and in this case it may be found most convenient to cut
a hole of the proper size and shape in a piece of thick
drawing-paper, which is to be laid over the part of the
drawing that is intended to be altered. A clean and
small damp sponge is then to be placed upon the hole
58 ALTBBATIONS AND COBBECTIONS.
in the paper, which will prevent the moisture from spread-
ing too far. The water in the sponge will soften the
gum in the paint, which may then be carefully removed
with the sponge without abrading the surface. Care must
be taken that the damp sponge is not suffered to lie too
long, and that too large a portion is not damped. After
the removal of the colour, the paper should be suffered
to dry, and when dry it may be repainted, first rubbing it
with the ivory ring, if necessary. In case of any part
having to be repainted, the original order of tints must
be strictly followed, in order to preserve a clean effect ;
for example, if the alteration be on the flesh, the first tint
must be Venetian Bed, and on that the shadow colour^
Blue, or the colour of the cheeks, or any other tint which
may have happened to be used.
Some persons wash out the part to be altered with the
sponge, but in doing this there is always danger of de-
stroying the surface of the paper, so that there will be
some difficulty in again painting on it, especially in the
case of flesh, although the ivory ring may have been
used. In such cases there is another remedy, which may
sometimes be found effectual. This consists in rubbing
the abraded surface with a piece of fine sand-paper, which
removes the roughness, and produces a pleasant surface to
work upon. The proper sand-paper is that which is num-
bered 0* It may perhaps be necessary to rub two pieces
of sand-paper together, before toucliing the painting with
It is sometimes convenient where a small alteration is
to be made, instead of washing out the colours to be
altered, to lay on white, and on this, when dry, to make
the necessary alterations.
In conclusion, the writer would impress upon the
learner, the importance of obtaining a thorough know-
ledge of the technical part of portrait painting, and of
the way in which the different tints are composed. This
skill can only be acquired by practice, that is to say, by
continual repetition ; and the advancement will be more
certain, if the early stages of the process are mastered
before proceeding to the finish. Every one conversant
with art is aware how much is to be learned of methods
of painting from the unfinished pictures by the great
masters, which have been carefully preserved to our own
time. The student is recommended to prepare such
unfinished pictures for himself, by way of reference to the
early stages of colouring, to which, as the tints are formed
chiefly by working the colours separately, and not by the
admixture of them on the palette, but little clue can be
afforded by the finished picture. «
A good example of a head shoiQd be selected for copy-
ings and a copy begun^ which should be conducted as far
as the second hatching mth Venetian Red. It should be
left in that state^ and another commenced^ which should
terminate with the first shadows that give roundness to
the head. A third and a fourth copy should be begun^
and should be left in different stages of advancement, and
lastly a perfect copy should be completed. The value of
such a series of drawings is inappreciable to the learner^
who will be apt to forget the early processes^ and the
order in which the different tints occur^ until by repetition
he has acquired a knowledge of the respective situations
of the tints, and a mechanical dexterity in applying them.
One head copied in this careful manner will be sufficient.
The student will place the copies in their different stages
of progress by his side when painting; and if by chance,
he should at any time forget how to produce certain effects
of colour, he has only to refer to his key to obtain all the
information he requires. It is true that this plan involves
much labour, and requires patience and perseverance ; but
to one really desirous of advancing in the practice of art,
no amount of labour will be considered too great to ac-
complish this object ; and the facility of execution to
which this plan will lead, will amply repay the labour of
acquiring it. The writer of this little work adopted the
phto here described, and from the benefit she has derived
^m it^ she thinks her time and labour well-bestowed^
and earnestly recommends it to the adoption of aU who
really wish to attain eminence in art^ and to acquire that
mechanical dexterity which will enable them to express
their thoughts by painting. Having thus acquired dex-
terity in the technical part of the art^ the student should
go to Nature ; and with a good knowledge of form^ a bust
by his side as a guide to the light and shade^ and his four
or five keys to the colourings he will scarcely fail of
acquiring a considerable amount of mechanical skill. If
to the latter he unite habits of observation^ and diligent
study of good pictures, he may hope, after years of
patient labour, to attain excellence in the r^resentation of
Printed by Schulze and Co., 13, Poland Street.